Prince William and the judges of the Earthshot Prize have called on the world to harness the “spirit of invention” that led to the development of Covid-19 vaccines to help save the planet from the climate crisis.
In a letter to the editor of The Times, the awards’ judges, including the Duke of Cambridge, Sir David Attenborough, Queen Rania of Jordan and actress Cate Blanchett, urged the public to recognise and combat climate change.
“This Earth Day, as the Leaders Summit on Climate kicks off the countdown to November's COP26 climate conference in the UK, we must be inspired by the ingenuity and determination of the past year,” the group said.
“We must transform our relationship with our planet, learning from those already living in harmony with nature and recognising that we all have a part to play.
“As people worldwide queue for their vaccinations, now is the time to harness that spirit of invention and give the Earth a shot too.”
William launched the project with his Royal Foundation in October last year, with prizes to recognise solutions, ideas and technologies that “repair the planet”.
The Earthshot Prize takes its inspiration from the Apollo moon landings, nicknamed Moonshot, and features five categories which organisers say, if achieved by 2030, would improve life for all.
Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners in the five categories will each receive £1m after being picked by a judging panel of William and other prominent figures.
A panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to the Earthshot Prize Council, with the first awards ceremony in London next year.
The Duke and Sir David hope that the project will become the Nobel Prize of the environmental world.
The letter came as US president Joe Biden warned world leaders that the next 10 years were the “decisive decade” to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.
Mr Biden announced a new target to achieve a 50-52 per cent reduction in US emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, as he hosted a two-day virtual summit including leaders from the UK, China, Brazil, Russia and India.
COP26 president Alok Sharma welcomed the new announcements of climate action on Thursday but warned more work was needed to limit global warming to 1.5C.
“With today's announcements from the US, from Canada, from Japan, every G7 country now has an NDC [nationally determined contribution] that puts them on a path to net zero by 2050,” Mr Sharma told the summit.
“This is a significant step towards keeping 1.5 degrees within reach, from a group of countries who have a responsibility to lead.”
However, he noted that the global community had not yet done enough to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement.
“We all know that the next decade will be make or break for planet Earth. And the warning lights are flashing bright red," Mr Sharma added.
Additional reporting by PA
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